What it Means to Float Your Artwork

Explore float frame options and customize your own online

When To Float Artwork

We have a lot of fun helping customers work out the framing style that works best for their artwork and tastes.

With online framing, the experience is more convenient and affordable than ever.

When framing your poster, print or photo, adding a beveled mat is a great way to make it look sharp and draw more focus to the artwork. The inside edge of the mat's window opening will overlap the art by 1/4" on each side to hold everything in place:

Bevel Cut Mat on Picture Frame Level Frames

However, when traditional over-matting would cover part of the art that should be on display, or if the edges of the artwork have any interesting characteristics, we typically recommend floating.

"Floating" or "float mounting" means that your artwork sits on top of the matting as opposed to being partially overlapped by the mat or the lip of the frame.

Float mounted artwork in black custom Level Frame
An original charcoal drawing with an Elevated float mount in our Black Maple frame

A float frame is most practical for artwork when the image comes all the way to the edges.

When a print has deckled or uneven edges, this treatment can also showcase the texture or shape of the paper, enhancing the overall beauty of the artwork and looking great on any wall.

When to float art prints and posters when online framing

Elevated Float Mounting

We offer a few different ways to float your artwork.

One popular option is called "Elevated", which creates the illusion that the print is literally floating on its own above the mat and inside the frame.

The shadow created underneath the print adds some extra drama:

"He is the Zissou" screen print by Tim Doyle Elevated float frame mounted in our White Maple profile

To achieve this we mount the artwork with archival mounting tissue onto a foamboard lift, and then mount that onto the mat backing.

The elevation of the lift is what creates the floating effect and shadow, by spacing the art away from the backing.

The edges of the lift are cut at 45 degree angles so that when the float frame is viewed from the side, the lift disappears underneath and out of sight.

To select an Elevated Float for your artwork, look for the Advanced Options in our frame designer:

Adding an elevated float mount to "Blue Woman" by Katie Re Scheidt

You can adjust the amount of space between the artwork and the frame by using the slider to change the margin.

Note that if you want to frame a photo, we offer this treatment as well in the Advanced Options section.

Sandwich Floating

When the art is inserted between the glazing and matting, we aptly call it "Sandwich" floating.

With this treatment, the artwork is floated on top of the mat but without spacers. There is a margin between the artwork and the sides of the frame, so that the edges of the print are revealed but without the shadow effect of the Elevated treatment.

It's a nice way to subtly exhibit the textures of the paper:

"True Spirit" screen print by DABSMYLA Sandwich mounted in our White Maple frames

If you'd like to add more impact and really make a Sandwich floated print pop, you can opt for black matting instead of white.

The acrylic glaze we use in framing is a much better protector against condensation than glass, which makes it resistant to becoming stuck to your prints. However, if your artwork is high in value or if you prefer to keep some distance between the art and the acrylic, we recommend requesting spacers to create separation between the two.

To select a Sandwich float, you will also open the Advanced Options section underneath the "Finalize" button.

Signatures and Edition Numbers

Another reason you may want to float a print or poster is to preserve the artist signature or edition number that could otherwise be covered up by the frame or mat.

Contemporary art print with artist embellishment in lower corner, float mounted with spacers

If you have questions about setting up an online custom framing project and measuring your artwork in this case, we have a number of tips for framing artwork with signatures and borders.

And if you're having trouble deciding which variation would work best for your print, don't hesitate to reach out.

We'll guide you through the custom framing process and together pick out the best way to present your artwork.

Just get in touch with our team via the chat bubble or via email to hello@levelframes.com.

Happy framing!